Below you will find a list of the biggest local and nationwide festivals in Myanmar in 2019; note that this is not a full list of all festivals, as there are too many around the country to include all of them here. For more background, go to festivals, music and entertainment.
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Bo Bo Gyi Nat Fesitval
This festival celebrates Bo Bo Gyi, an alchemist who is now revered as a nat (Burmese spirit). Taking part involves throwing small tea leaf packets at others and if you are hit, you are supposed to attend again the following year to pay homage.
Yadana Gu Nat Festival
Music and traditional dances are performed at this festival to pay respect to Popa Medaw, the mother of two nat (Burmese spirit) brothers, who is said to have stopped in Amarapura on her way back from Mount Popa.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
The biggest yearly gathering in Shan State, the Phaung Daw Oo festival takes place over two weeks, during which a golden barge holding four Buddha images is pulled by hundreds of leg-rowers around Inle Lake, visiting every village on the water. There are martial arts and rowing competitions, and plenty of dancing!
Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival
Mandalay is the biggest Buddhist religious centre in Myanmar and this week-long festival one of the most important and popular pagoda festivals of the religious calendar.
Thandingyut Festival of Lights
This festival is held at the end of Buddhist Lent to commemorate the Buddha returning to earth; as this happened at night, people around the country decorate their houses with coloured lanterns.
Kyaukse Elephant Dance Festival
Kyaukse, near Mandalay
Paying homage to the Shwe Tha Lyaung pagoda, men dance in large and colourful elephant figures made from paper and bamboo.
Taunggyi Fire Balloon Fesitval
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival
This festival is one of Bagan’s biggest yearly events and its centrepiece is the alms-giving ceremony to many hundreds of monks who gather from the monasteries in the surrounding area. It also features theatre shows and traditional dancing.
Pyin Oo Lwin Balloon Festival
Similar to the Taunggyi Balloon Festival but smaller in scale, this event remains great fun and isn’t as hectic and crowded as its big brother. It also offers balloon competitions through the day and evening.
Thanboddhay Pagoda Festival
Another lively pagoda festival in the Monywa area where you will find food stalls, dancing and musical performances.